There are plenty of unique places to visit in Vietnam but, Hoi An tops the chart. I don’t know about the Tourism Board but, in my heart, I have declared Hoi An as the prettiest town of Vietnam!!!
- Vietnam Overview
- Vietnam Chapter 1 – Sapa
- Vietnam Chapter 2 – Halong Bay
- Vietnam Chapter 3 – Cat Ba Island
- Vietnam Chapter 4 – Hoi An
- Vietnam Chapter 5 – Da Nang and Ba Na Hills
About Hoi An
UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hoi An is the most decorative, alluring & atmospheric town. Being an ancient town, it has it’s own rustic and poetic charm which makes it one of the best places to visit in Vietnam.
Situated in the central part of Vietnam, approximately 30km south of Da Nang, Hoi An has a lot to offer to everyone such as a charming old quarter, poetic river, hustling night market, dazzling cafes, amazing beaches.
Initially, I planned to stay here for a day only but ended up spending 3 nights in a row and still wished that I had an extra day to spend here. This town is a perfect mix of culture, shopping, food, relaxation, and history and can make you fall in love with the surroundings and it’s aura.
The main area of Hoi An, i.e. the Ancient Town part is closed for vehicles and only cycling and walking are allowed, making it more pleasant and enjoyable. The whole town is decorated with colorful lanterns be it the streets, cafes, restaurants or river and it comes alive after the sunset when they all glow in different hues. With all the beautiful & colorful lanterns and restaurants along the river playing live music, Hoi An makes for the best dining experience. The night market also offers ample options for foodies to savor their taste buds.
Hoi An is also famous for its tailor-made clothes. There are many shops in the town where you can visit, pick the fabric, choose the design and your dress can be delivered to you within a day.
Hoi An is Vietnam Tourism Board’s answer to the World on how to promote a place and how to develop a town for tourism. Its uniqueness and its glittering & preserved ancient town are what makes it the best place to visit in Vietnam.
Things to do in Hoi An
There are plenty of things to do in Hoi An and you can easily spend 3 days here.
Hoi An Ancient Town
Hoi An Ancient Town is undoubtedly the main attraction of the city and know for its well-preserved legacy. It was an active trading port between the 15th to 19th centuries which still reflects a fusion of native and foreign cultures mainly Chinese and Japanese cultures with a mix of Europian touch which combinedly makes it a unique place.
Japanese Covered Bridge
Amongst many historic architectures, the Japanese bridge is the famous one which was built in the 16th century. Since Hoi An was the main trading port from the 15th to 19th centuries which linked Japan & China with other South Asian countries, this bridge was constructed by the Japanese merchants to connect the Japanese quarter to the Chinese quarter.
The Bridge is constructed over a canal and comes alive in the evening when all the lights are turned on.
Nights in Hoi An are gorgeous and alluring creating a magical aura. You can enjoy your drinks and food in many of its charming bars or live music restaurants around the lake.
The night market is one of the highlights of Hoi An’s nightlife. Hosting a load of a crowd, both locals and tourists, the night market is for all the shopping enthusiasts and foodies. Strolling around the night market and trying out all the food is itself a refreshing and enjoyable activity.
Street food of Hoi An requires a special and separate mention because of its enormous variety. Whole Hoi An city is full of street vendors selling food on the side of the roads, but, it is the night market that takes the whole credit.
The delicacies you can try are Cao Lau, Fried Wontons, Com Ga (Chicken Rice), Banh Mi, Noodles, Spring Rolls, Vietnamese Pizza, Barbequed Chicken, Beef & Seafood and many more. If you have a sweet tooth, then you can try Thai Crepe (Banana + Chocolate), Coconut Cake, Mango Cake, Stick Ice Cream, Dragon Balls, etc.
Boat Ride in Thu Bon River
This can be the most touristic thing which can not be experienced anywhere else in Vietnam. When the sun goes down, not only the town lights up but the river also glitters which is full of small boats with lanterns hanging on it and few small lanterns flowing in the river.
You can see small girls and old ladies selling small flower lanterns which you can buy for 5,000 to 10,000 VND and sail it in the river. You can also take a boat ride for 20,000 VND and see the whole Ancient Town through it.
An Bang Beach
This beautiful beach lies 4km from Hoi An Ancient Town which is 10 minutes ride only. It is an amazing and beautiful shoreline stretched on the South China Sea. Beach is sprawled with many chaise lounges for you to lie-down and relax. It also hosts a number of restaurants serving fresh Seafood of your own choice.
My Son Temple
Consisting of ancient Cham Temples, My Son is also a UNESCO site. It can be seen as a smaller version of Angkor Wat of Cambodia. It can be very hot during the day time, therefore, carry water with you.
There are many travel agencies that provide day trips to My Son but if you are an adventurous soul like us then you can rent a motorbike and drive. Day trips through agencies will cost you approximately 3,00,000-4,00,000 VND whereas motorbike rental is 1,00,000 VND/day and 50,000 VND for the fuel.
Hoi An is approximately 30kms from Da Nang city which is well connected through rail, road & air from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh both. From Da Nang, you can hire a taxi to reach Hoi An or if you are on a budget trip, then consider taking a bus. It takes approximately 45 minutes from Da Nang to Hoi An.
Hoi An can be best experienced either on Foot or on a Cycle. The best would be to explore Hoi An Ancient Town, Night Market & River by walking and rent a cycle or motorbike to visit the beach.
Probably you can rent a motorbike for a day and cover My Son and An Bang beach both in a day.
Many accommodation options are available in Hoi An town. Hostels and Hotels, both options are available for you. If you are amongst those who prefer luxury accommodations, then you have to try a few kilometers away from Hoi An towards Da Nang.
We stayed in Hoa My II Hotel which was approximately 1km from the Ancient town and cost us around 3,50,000 VND i.e approximately 1100 INR. The staff was very friendly and helpful and this hotel also has a small indoor swimming pool.
Hotel and restaurant staff knows good English but you can experience issues while communicating with the local street vendors. Google Translator was our helping partner through the trip to Vietnam.
We went in January and the weather was quite pleasant at that time and we did not require pull-overs/jackets. My Son was hot though.
Temperature increases after March and makes it difficult to go out during the day.
So this was my experience in one of the unique places in Vietnam. Please let me know in the comments if this article helped you. Please share it with your friends who are planning a trip to Vietnam.
Keep traveling and keep sharing experiences!